Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Race winning Mazda squad. [Jack Webster photo]

Race winning Mazda squad. [Jack Webster photo]

By Jack Webster

38 cars took the green flag at Watkins Glen International on June 27, for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen, the third round of the Michelin Endurance Cup championship in 2021 (the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring were the first two rounds). After the Six Hours at the Glen, only Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta remains to determine the best endurance racing teams for this year.

All five classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competed at Watkins Glen, with entries in DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM and GTD vying for the overall win and class wins.

In the end, despite the fact that the Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura DPi piloted by Dane Cameron and Olivier Pla pretty much dominated the race, it was the Mazda Motorsports DPi piloted by Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Oliver Jarvis who took top honors by just under one second after a stirring final stint by Harry Tincknell. Using traffic to his advantage and saving every possible drop of fuel in his Mazda, Tincknell took full advantage of brilliant pit strategy by Leena Gade and the Multimatic crew in taking only one tire and jumping to the head of the field on their final pit stop.

Amazingly, the winning Mazda ran out of fuel on the cool down lap after the checkered flag and had to be towed to victory lane!

Other classes were just as exciting. WIN Autosport took LMP2 honors with Tristan Nunez, Thomas Merrill and Steven Thomas handling the driving duties, taking the victory over the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA by just over one second.

In GTLM, it was Corvette Racing’s #3 entry driven by Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia taking top honors, with BMW taking both second and third in class.

In LMP3, Scott Andrews and Gar Robinson won class in their Riley Motorsports Ligier, beating the CORE Autosport’s entry by under 2 seconds.

And finally, last but certainly not least, veteran Bill Auberlen recorded his record 64th IMSA victory, taking the GTD class win for BMW in the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 which he shared with Robby Foley and Aidan Read. They jumped to the head of the very tight and competitive GTD field by being very fortunate on their last pit stop. They had just entered the pits for service when the last full course yellow came out, giving them a big advantage over the GTD class cars that had not stopped yet for service. It turned out to be a winning move.

The race covered 682 miles in 6 hours and 4.522 seconds. Think about that. If Tincknell had not managed the speed of his Mazda so precisely and crossed the line just over 4.5 seconds earlier to take the white flag, he would have had to run an extra lap and would have run out of fuel on the last lap of the race! Brilliant driving, brilliant execution by the entire Mazda/Multimatic squad.

It was a great race weekend at Watkins Glen, with perfect weather and large crowds on hand to enjoy the great racing. And in a continuing sign that things are getting back to normal, the IMSA paddock was open to fans all week and the pits were even opened for the traditional pit walk prior to the start of the race.

The IMSA circus does it all over this week at the Glen, this time as a 2 hour and 40-minute sprint race which will take place Friday, July 2, starting at 6pm.

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